Hospital cost cutting plans are outlined

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BOSSES at West Suffolk Hospital have outlined cost cutting plans worth millions of pounds.

In a message to staff, chief executive officer Stephen Graves said measures will need to be taken to reduce the hospital’s pay bill, which amounts to 70 per cent of costs.

The hospital needs to make £9 million in ‘efficiency savings’ this financial year and up to this figure in subsequent years as part of wider financial pressures on the NHS.

In an interview with the Bury Free Press, Mr Graves said there were no plans for redundancies at the present time but indicated that payroll savings be made by cutting back on agency staff and recruiting more permanent staff members.

He explained that up to eight to 10 per cent of the pay bill is taken up by non permanent staff including locum and agency, which are ‘high cost’.

Mr Graves said: “One of our opportunities is to reduce that cost by recruiting more permanent people into those posts. In addition we have about a 10 per cent staff turnover per year.”

When asked if staff who have left will be replaced, he said: “Some will be replaced and by replacing them we may change the skill max of the organisation, we may change the job description and in some places we may not replace that person.

“Everything we do we take to our senior clinical groups to make sure what we’re doing isn’t negatively affecting the quality of care we provide.”

Other projects outlined in the message to staff include productive wards and theatres, discharge planning to allow patients to return home earlier, IT to deliver improved efficiency and integrated care alongside community teams.

In the message, Mr Graves said the Bright Ideas programme was being relaunched and invited staff to contribute across-hospital ideas as part of the move.

He added: “While no doubt we are facing at least a couple of busy tough years I know that together this can be achieved while further improving the excellent care we provide to patients.”